The holidays are more than a month away, which means it’s the perfect time to discuss holiday stress. The following are seven ways to reduce stress and enjoy the festive season.

1. Make a list: We sometimes think that the holidays are far away and then suddenly they creep up on us. Before you know it we’re racing around crowded shopping malls trying to figure out what to buy. Make a list of all the things you need to do before December 25th appears on your calendar.

2. Delegate: This can be especially hard for women yet asking for help during the holidays can save you a lot of headache. Are you having your family over for dinner? If so then ask those who are capable to contribute a dish to the meal. It’s amazing how much difference this makes. Also, if you have school-aged children, ask them to make their teachers a card rather than you having to do it. Not doing it all yourself will make your holiday much more pleasant and memorable.

3. Don’t put so many demands on yourself: It’s easy to dream up all the wonderful things you’ll do during the holidays, yet it’s more difficult to actually execute them when the time comes. As an example, if you decide to make five gifts for family and friends, why not make two instead and do something special, yet less time-consuming for the others. If you typically make two desserts, then make one instead or ask one of your guests to bring along a dessert. Take a good, long look at the list you wrote out and see if you can remove something from it.


photo credit: Sarah Ross photography via photopin cc

4. Buy less: To cut down on the amount of time you spend buying gifts you might wish to draw names with your family instead. Many families do this now to cut down on expenses, but also to have more quality time with those they care about. Trading things for quality time could make the holiday a richer experience for you and those around you.

5. Book time with friends: Another important thing to do early on is to book time with friends and family. People’s calendars can fill up fast so make sure you schedule time soon so you get to see the most important people in your life.

6. Make travel plans. Flights sell out early and are generally cheaper the sooner you buy them. Buying tickets ahead of time saves you the worry of doing it at the last minute. You can get the seat you want at the right price, and then begin to plan your holiday around when you arrive. Or, if you’re driving somewhere, work out when you’ll be leaving and coming back so that you can tell friends and family your plans. Communicating your travel itinerary early on will give you a better chance to see others during the holidays.

7. Take in the spirit of the season: In the harried rush to get things done many of us forget to stop and enjoy the warmth and cheer of the season. Schedule a few fun things to do with friends and family. Take time to enjoy the festive lights in your neighbourhood, and consider donating to a local charity or volunteering at a local soup kitchen. Giving back over the holidays is a great way to end the year—and to set the tone for the next one!


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